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8/6/13 8:01 PM 

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Local Church News - February 2013 E @ EZ1 

Barbara Brown Taylor and David Gushee to 
address Piedmont College conference on 
religion and politics, Feb. 22-23 

Religion and politics, two subjects certain to 
start a "conversation," will be at the center of 
a two-day Piedmont College conference to be 
held in Athens, GA, in February. 

"Faith and Citizenship: Religion in the Public 
Square" is the theme for the college's sixth 
annual Religion and the Liberal Arts 
Conference, which will feature addresses by 
Barbara Brown Taylor, professor of religion at 
Piedmont; and by David P. Gushee, director 
of the Center for Theology and Public Life at 
Mercer University. 

"While the recent presidential election served to focus issues, the 
debates do not end once votes are cast," said conference organizer and 
Piedmont chaplain Ashley Cleere. "Concerns about justice, privacy, 
hospitality, neighborliness, and compassion occupy both religious and 
political discourse." 

Cleere said the conference will examine the role religion plays in 
questions such as, "Who may be married? Is torture ever right? How 
much responsibility do humans bear for climate change? When does life 
begin? When is prayer appropriate in public settings? Under what 
circumstances are immigrants to be welcomed? How are health care 
needs to be met?" 

The conference will be held Feb. 22-23. The fee is $150 per person, 
which includes the evening banquet and address Feb. 22 at the Classic 
Center, as well as the plenary address, two workshop sessions, and two 
meals on Feb. 23 at the Piedmont College Athens campus. For more 
information about the conference, accommodations, and online 
registration, visit 

Barbara Brown Taylor has been an 
Episcopal priest since 1984 and is the 
author of 12 books, including the New York 
Times best-seller "An Altar in the World: A 
Geography of Faith." She has taught 
religion at Piedmont College, where she 

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Southeast Conference 


UCC News 
UCC Newsroom 

Headlines from the United 
Church of Christ 

UCC groups host immigration 
reform vigils on Ash Wednesday 
To commemorate Ash 
Wednesday and the beginning 
of the church's penitential 
season, several United Church 
of Christ groups and 
congregations hosted 
immigration reform prayer vigils 
Feb. 13 

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Leader Link Local Church News Southeast Conference SECUCC News 8/6/13 8:01 PM 

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Religion, since 1998. 

David Gushee is a professor of Christian 
Ethics at Mercer, where he also chairs the 
Mercer Lyceum initiative on rebuilding democracy. He is the author of 
several books on ethics, including "The Righteous Gentiles of the 
Holocaust," and he serves on the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial 
Museum in Washington, DC. His 2003 "Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus 
in Contemporary Context," written with Glen Stassen of Fuller 
Theological Seminary, was named Theology/Ethics book of the year by 
Christianity Today. 

Piedmont College is an independent liberal arts college of about 2,600 
students with campuses located in Demorest and Athens. Founded in 
1897, Piedmont is affiliated with both the UCC and the National 
Association of Congregational Christian Churches. The college offers 
undergraduate degrees in 44 major areas, master's degrees in 
education and business, and a doctoral degree in education. 

Same-Sex Couples Seek Recognition in 
Mobile and Alabama 

Sondra Scott and Jan Parker, new members of Open Table: A 
Community of Faith in Mobile, AL, were married in Massachusetts 
after being together for 28 years. Jan was at Sondra's side in the 
hospital as she battled cancer. "Fortunately we were in an area where 
they didn't deny her as part of my family so she could be there at the 
hospital for me," said Sondra. 

Kim McKeand and Cari Searcy were married in California and now live 
in Mobile. 

Kim is the legal parent of their son. Cari would like to share legal 
custody. "He had to have open heart surgery when he was three years 
old," said Cari. "So during that time we ran into issues with me being 
able to administer his care." Standing in their way is Alabama law, 
which prohibits same-sex marriage and recognition of such marriages 
from other states. Today, both couples, backed by supporters from the 
group Southern Equality, the We Do campaign, and Pastor Ellen Sims of 
Open Table, set out to seek that recognition as they silently walked to 
the Mobile County License Commission. 

It's something that civil rights groups are doing across the south. 
Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of the Campaign for Southern Equality was 
among them. "We're traveling across the south this month," she said, 
"taking action in small towns and larger cities, pushing for full equality 
under federal law, and we'll keep pushing until we reach that goal." 

Once inside the License Commission office, Sondra and Jan sat down to 
ask that their marriage be recorded in the state records. "We can do 
that," said the clerk, "but that's all we can legally do." They were told 
to step to the next window. Kim and Cari did just that, where their 
marriage certificate was entered into Alabama record. But both couples 
know that's where it stops. 

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Leader Link Local Church News Southeast Conference SECUCC News 

8/6/13 8:01 PM 


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LGBT Ministry and Advocacy in the UCC 
Pathways- A Sojourners' Community 
Conference News - February 2013 
Local Church News - February 2013 
Lifting Up... February 2013 

Southeast Conference UCC (SEC) 
UCC History and Polity 
Southeast Conference Campaign 
Steps to Planting a New Church 
Global Theological Education 


^ Conference Minister 

kTAP Director 

t SEC Donations 

y Church Development 

t Communications Director 


t Annual Meeting 

y Global Theological Education 

* Local Church News 

* SEC Churches 

t Seminars/Webinars 


t Bridge 4 Faith 

y The Center for Progressive Renewal 

t United Church of Christ 

y Mission Insite 

t Resource Center 


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